This just happened earlier this week. I was pretty far from the Make-A-Wish office, and I needed some color copies for an event. I dropped into a local shipping store so I could print 100 copies of a flyer promoting Wish Nation (at right) without making a long drive back to the office.
The owner quoted a price and printed one copy for my review. He scanned it before handing it to me, and I could see a change in his expression.
“You work for Make-A-Wish?” he asked.
Suddenly, our “just business” transaction turned into a great conversation about philanthropy. He told me all about the steps he takes through this business franchise to help make his community better. He'd raised funds through customer donations for several local charities, and still had many of the jars he used for collecting the donations.
I could quote more than a few studies that says that customers are more loyal to businesses that support charities. That's an important piece of information for any business getting involved in philanthropy. But I always hope that the true reason for supporting us remains as pure as what I saw here: that a person supports charities because it's the right thing to do.
The quote for my print job also wound up about 30 percent lower than it had been. Which was nice – but I would've walked away happy either way. This random conversation became the high point of my week just because it's always great to see people do something for their community.
I am convinced that moments like these turn people who admire Make-A-Wish into people who act for Make-A-Wish – by donating, referring children, by volunteering.
I left with the owner's business card, a handshake and that sense of goodwill that comes from seeing people doing something kind, even when nobody else is watching.